A WOMAN who was told she was “not disabled enough” and threatened with losing her specially-adapted car has won the right to keep the vehicle.
Alexandra Mitchell, 68, who has both legs in callipers, said she was delighted by the change of heart from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
But she said the system was wrong and vowed to fight to stop anyone else having to go through what she had experienced.
Mrs Mitchell, who lives in Cramond with husband Brian, was summoned for assessment earlier this year as part of the UK Government’s process of replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payments (PIP). She was shocked to be told she no longer qualified for a Motability car despite a letter from her GP warning that taking it away would leave her house bound.
She appealed, but was still waiting for a tribunal date when they told her the car would be taken away on September 5.
Mrs Mitchell, who stands just 4ft 5.5 inches tall, said a second letter from her doctor seemed to make the crucial difference.
“I’m so, so pleased,” she said. “But the whole system is wrong and I want to do what I can to change it. People are assessed by a private company, which obviously wants to make a profit. Do they get the contract because they say they will get rid of so many mobility allowances?
“And the way it was done was heartless. The girl said she noted I’d said I had pain from my callipers, but didn’t take any medication for it. The implication was I was lying. Imagine the amount of painkillers I’d have taken if I’d been doing that for the 64 years I’ve had the callipers. It was the whole tone of it.”
She said she hoped her victory would encourage other people to stand up to the DWP and appeal their decisions.
Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine, who raised Mrs Mitchell’s case in Parliament, said she had been “disgusted” when she heard her story. “It was clear to me she needs her mobility car and the assessment she was required to undertake was flawed,” she said. “Many people are suffering at the hands of the new PIP assessment and it’s time the Government realised its failing
“I will continue to fight the Government over the new assessment and protect constituents like Mrs Mitchell from terrible decision-making that will have huge impacts on peoples lives”
A DWP spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the full support that they need and under PIP 30 per cent of people are getting the highest rate of support, compared with 15 per cent under DLA.
“Decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant at the time, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.
“Following receipt of additional information, we were able to look again at Mrs Mitchell’s case and have confirmed her PIP award at the higher rate and her benefits are paid up to date.”